Forward Kyle Bowen came to Arizona State as a highly-touted recruit last year, but he had to sit out the first half of the season to abide by the American Collegiate Hockey Association rules.
The center wasted no time stepping in and making an impact on the ice. In 22 games, Bowen scored six goals and two assists, including a goal in four out of the last five games. The reason for his success comes down to two things: his attitude and game day rituals.
"I come to the rink everyday with a great attitude and ready to work hard to make our team and my teammates better," Bowen said.
That winning mentality may spur from his hour-by-hour schedule to get him concentrated and hungry for the night's game.
"I actually have many hockey superstitions," Bowen said. "I always put on my equipment from right to left, I tape my stick the same way every time, also I have had the same game day routine since I was 16."
Some athletes are so peculiar about superstitions, but Bowen is slightly different. For the last six years, the Valencia, Calif. native has prepared for the opening faceoffs, and even the slightest change of lettuce on his sandwich could be enough to throw off his speed, vision, hands and grit during the game.
"I wake up, pregame skate, eat chicken breast sub from subway, watch television from 1-2 p.m., sleep from about 2:30-4 p.m., wake up and have a PB and J, then go to the rink two hours early and prepare," Bowen rattled off.
He has it down to a science. We've all heard of eating pregame Wheaties like the Olympians, but Bowen could very well be the next Jared Fogle of Subway strictly from an inspirational stand point.
There was arguably no better line on the team than Troy Scott, Kory Chisholm and Bowen.
"I do the same thing every game," Bowen said. "I really try and focus on what I need to do to help the team win. I focus on what my role is and to the be best at it."
Bowen understands that his number will not be called every five minutes during line changes, but he is a skater who has a hybrid motor. He compliments his line well because he has quick, accurate hands on his shot, the vision to set up his linemates at any spot in the zone, and the speed to get back and help on defense.
On the ice last season, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound forward learned to "be patient with the puck and create time and space for myself and my linemates."
He has made the transition from Canadian junior hockey look relatively easy. Bowen played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) with the Lloydminster Bobcats for three seasons and his team made the playoffs all three years.
The reason he had to adapt to his new role is because Bowen is typically known as a scorer considering he accumulated 26 goals and 32 assists in two seasons prior to enrolling at Arizona State. Since then, he changed his game to fit ASU's system because he will do whatever it takes to benefit the team.
"I think the fact that we all had one goal and it was to win a national championship, and each one of us were willing to do anything possible to achieve that goal," Bowen said.